While all savvy brands are working overtime to deepen their relationships with loyal customers through social media, Eight O’Clock Coffee has taken these efforts to unusual levels – most recently extending them to an offline “thank-you” trip for a group of “Superfans.”
Eight O’Clock and The S3 Agency, which handles the brand’s social media and public relations, have stayed closely engaged with Facebook and Twitter fans for some four years now, according to S3’s social media strategist Jaime Hamel.
In mid-October, the brand extended a special invitation to four “Superfans” -- consumers who grew up drinking the coffee, and have been particularly active and influential in their social media interactions with and about the brand.
“They have been highly supportive brand advocates over the years,” notes Hamel. “They interact frequently with us, sending us their thoughts and suggestions -- and we have listened.”
These fans were treated to an all-expenses-paid three-day trip to the Washington, D.C. area for a visit to Eight O’Clock’s nearby Landover, Md. facility and other activities.
The fans, who stayed at D.C.’s Embassy Row Hotel, spent time touring the facility to see how their favorite coffee is made and meet the people who make it. They also got a basic tutorial on coffee production, and enjoyed an in-depth “cupping” session.
On one morning, the brand held a
breakfast focus group with the fans, encouraging them to talk about their lives, their experiences with Eight O’Clock, and suggestions for what the brand might do going forward.
The fans were also invited to have dinner with the brand team on both nights, and were presented with a variety of Eight O’Clock-branded gift items.
“Eight O’Clock appreciates the ability to engage directly with consumers, which is what this Superfan program is all about,” says Hamel. “It brings the digital world of social media to real life, giving the brand and its fans the opportunity to interact face-to-face, share ideas and ultimately, create a team made up of brand and consumer.”